by Lori Handeland

Septemeber 2001
ISBN: 0-8217-6742-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Rock Creek, Texas, is a tumbledown collection of buildings that life has pretty much passed by! A few folks eke out a meager living – there’s a store, a church, a run-down hotel, a flea-infested saloon, and not much else. Except for a group of outlaws who routinely shoot up the town!! And they’re seriously aggravating Miss Mary McKendrick, the schoolteacher!!

Disgusted that the town seems incapable of defending itself, and refusing to allow the place she has chosen as her home to wither and die, Mary boldly heads to Dallas where she hopes to recruit some help for her problem in the form of a gun-for-hire – Reese.

If you are at all familiar with “The Magnificent Seven” or the original “Seven Samurai”, then you’ll catch the drift of this plot immediately. Reese is the unacknowledged head of a group of men who stayed together after the war – their loyalty now is to each other. When Reese decides to answer Mary’s call for help, the other five end up lending a hand as well. This is the first book in the “Rock Creek Six” series, and it’s a delight to see where it all started, especially if you read some of the other adventures first. Mary’s strong spirit and adamant beliefs clearly show that she is full of the pioneer spirit that could easily have built the West single-handedly!!

And once she gets a taste of Reese – well, not much can stop her from achieving her goals. The fact that Reese’s goals are the same comes as a huge surprise to him!!

Lori Handeland kicks off this series with a wonderful tale of might against right, honor, loyalty and love. Reese is everything a hero should be, brave, short-tempered, and confused by the heroine. Mary stands firm in her beliefs (women like this should have been Mayors!!) and committed to her cause. Reading this book is like watching a wonderful John Wayne western – all the classic elements of the genre are present and the good guy gets his gal! I note that Ms. Handeland shares writing honors for the Rock Creek Six with Linda Devlin – their collaboration is flawless – the characters in each book remain consistent regardless of who is writing their story. Congratulations, ladies, you have produced a super collection of wild gunslingers and the women who tamed them!!

Reviewed in April 2002 by Celia.

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